Well, what an adventure we a couple of weeks ago!
If you follow me on Instagram then you will know that we visited Disneyland Paris with National Holidays and we had the time of our life. Before, during and after the trip I have had so many questions that I thought it may be a good idea to put it all in a blog post for you. I travelled from Newcastle Upon Tyne with my husband and two sons, aged five and two.
Just to be open and honest with you all, I was invited by National Holidays to experience the trip so it was gifted. I promise to be completely honest with you all about our experience.
I feel the best way to share our experience would be to take you through the holiday in a diary form. So here we go!
Friday 26th October
We were collected from the pick up point in Newcastle in the early hours and got on board our coach. The boys were in their pyjamas and we brought a cushion and blanket (primark throw) for each of them so they were soon fast asleep as we headed on the road towards Paris. The coach wasn’t too busy on this journey out and we managed to nab the backseat so we were very comfortable. We made a couple of stops in the North East to pick up other passengers and the driver was playing the best music channel (think it was smooth) We all managed to get some sleep on this part of the journey.
Our first stop was Woodall Services which timed well for us as the boys had woken up and needed a little change of air. We went inside, grabbed a coffee and used the toilets. I changed the boys into some comfy clothes and then we were told that we had to change coaches for our final destination. I wish I had known this in advance as we had our stuff scattered everywhere so just be prepared that you may not stay on the same coach thought the trip.
I have since learned that the first coach is a feeder coach that does local pick ups so that you don’t have too many stops. This makes the journey a little quicker and I guess as smooth as possible for the passengers. You then join with the core coach where the groups merge for the rest of the journey.
We then boarded our next coach, grabbed our allocated seats and got ourselves comfortable for the second part of the journey. We were introduced to our driver, Dave. Can I just say that Dave was bloody brilliant. He explained the process of the journey, gave us safety advice and also kept us entertained throughout the journey. We then travelled all of the way through to Dover which was lovely, genuinely lovely. All of us were so excited about the trip. I sat with one of the boys and Gareth with the other and we swapped over if they got bored. We did plan ahead though and brought their Amazon Fires, drawing stuff, a few surprises, lots of snacks and Gareth even brought a travel Connect Four. I believe that National Holidays are launching a service called WAVE which mean there will be preloaded film and TV content for passengers to enjoy. Which will be fantastic for theirs traveling with children. The boys were so well behaved and I loved that Dave gave us snippets of facts about the places around us, which I found incredibly interesting, especially in France.
We arrived at Dover and literally within ten minutes we were boarding the ferry. The ferry was a little dated but had small play area for the boys, who went completely crazy, it was quite embarrassing to be fair but they had been so good so we kind of just let them run around and let off some energy. We also grabbed a wine and a beer from the bar and tried to enjoy them whilst checking on the boys. We then went up to the cafe and ordered two portions of Chips that we all shared and they were lovely!
The crossing was smooth and James was so excited to be travelling to France on a ferry and so were we to be honest, before we knew it we were back on the coach and ready for the final stage of the journey. Again, we travelled straight through to Disney which worked well of us as the boys were tired from there craziness on the ferry and slept for the last stage, We arrived in our hotel at the area, Castle before 7pm.
When we arrived at the hotel, Dave gave us our park tickets and meal plan vouchers then we queued for our room keys.
I can honestly say that I enjoyed all of this journey, even with two little ones, just be prepared and try and time their sleeps or naps and bring plenty of snacks.
We ordered a meal plan as part of the trip so this meant that you get a dinner voucher for two days. So for the first night we headed into the village on the free shuttle bus and paid for our dinner for the first night at Rainforest Cafe, we saved our vouchers for the Saturday and Sunday evenings. We then had a little wander around the shops and headed home, ready to get up early for the parks in the morning.
Saturday 27th October
We had breakfast at the hotel which is included in the price and there was plenty of options and I really enjoyed it. It can be busy so I would try and get there quite early if you can. I won’t go into huge detail about what we did at the parks as I’ll save that for another post…. let me know below if this is something you would like. The parks were quite busy as it was the weekend so we tried to plan our day. We headed straight to Big Thunder Mountain for a fastpass and then queued for few rides. We then grabbed something to eat from Cafe Hyperion which was expensive and not overly great. In retrospect we should have just grabbed a snack and used our meal plans for a nice evening meal… but you live and learn.
We then watched the parade and went on a few more rides then headed back to the hotel.
Sunday 28th October.
Up early, breakfast then headed back into Disneyland to meet Jack Skellington. Then we headed to the Walt Disney Studios Park. We managed get fast passes for Ratatouille, then we headed back to the Disneyland Hotel to have Halloween Brunch at Inventions. If you are a big Disney fan or celebrating something special, I would highly recommend booking this. We used our meal vouchers towards the price (which was more expensive as it was Halloween special)
The weather was very cold but that worked in our advantage as when we left the meal Walt Disney Studios was empty and we rode so many rides that evening. As long as you are wrapped up, coats, scarves, gloves, sensible shoes and hats then it is the perfect time to make the most of the park. We wanted to watch the fireworks on our last night so we headed back to Disneyland Park and grabbed a little spot in Casey’s corner and used our last meal vouchers on hot dog and chips for us all. We then watched the illuminations, grabbed a pic in an empty Main Street (go me!) and headed back on the coaches ready for the journey home.
Monday 29th October – heading home!
We were all packed and headed down to the coach at 6.45 put our bags on the coach and grabbed a quick breakfast. We then jumped on board and started the journey home. We arrived at Calais and the process boarding the ferry is a little longer on the French side due to UK border control which is fair enough. . The boys were a little more awake due to the time we left but we managed that with distractions. The ferry journey home was a little more rocky but the boys played and we grabbed a coffee (too early for vino… )
We then started the journey home, we made two stops this time at service stations waiting for other coaches to meet up with us so the journey was a little longer heading home. On the positive side, we stayed on the same coach in the same seats which was great. There were a few extra drop-offs on the way home too so it was quite late by the time we ended home in Newcastle. I think the journey home is not as exciting as on the way there as if you are anything like me then you have the holiday blues…
Overall,I would say that our trip was a huge success and a massive adventure for us as a family. It difficult to give you each timings as I guess these change depending on where you live, how many people are traveling, issues with traffic or incidents, I think you just have to be completely prepared with little ones as they will get bored and need to be stimulated. I think the positives of traveling by coach is spending a long time with your family and it is fun. I would definelty do it again and the boys loved their experience.
Thanks for reading